A Letter to a friend who wants to start a housechurch

31 01 2012

Thoughts I shared with my Filipino partner in Canada who is starting a church.

Let others get what really a church in the Bible is. Because how we understand “Church” is how we express it.

1. it is not a building nor the meeting, it is the people and their relationship. many church has people but lack relationships.

2. church is you and me, church is where HE lives, not where we meet. this is important, because most house church thought that the ‘house’ became a church now.

3. Mostly, Church is a family. Any healthy family can easily understand this. “He who manage well of his own household can manage the household of God.” But being ‘good fathers and mothers’ are not just able to do take good care of their children but they also teach the REAL Jesus. ūüôā

4. Don’t start with having a ‘meeting’ but being a family. Have food, and have fun with everybody including kids. Any healthy family would not do meetings but they already met a lot because they have relationships. At least you could start that. Any Filipino’s know that if we start something at first not only we ourselves who initiate it has having a hard time ‘stopping’ it but also they are expecting you to do the same thing again next week. Example: A house church may study the Bible but it is not CALLED a ‘Bible Study Meeting’ or program. They may pray but it is NOT called a ‘Prayer Meeting.’ Nothing wrong with studying and praying but if that’s what we do every time we meet it will soon become a tradition. We don’t do them, but we discuss more of the Word and pray anytime we wanted to. Simpy because we are a family, we care for each other. It is not a lifetime of meetings but a lifetime of relationships.

Advertisements




Apostolic Hub

31 01 2012

Hi Guys, I have taken myself a video explaining what we are believing and doing here. We tried to keep some noise out but dog’s are barking around but hey, ‘they are part of the church here’ as my friend Criss commented.

Enjoy, click the link below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kaXUcPSFog





A Homeless Child [Orphanages Mentality]

15 01 2012

“I will not leave you as orphans.” Jesus said.

We built ‘orphanages mentality’ organizations such as ‘churches’ ‘feeding centers’ ‘bible schools’ ‘seminaries’ ‘adoption homes’ and all ‘para-churches’ ministries. Whereas Jesus built His Ekklesia, the Church, His Body, His extended family on earth. The members of His Kingdom.

As [with my wife] we had meal together with Bob Fitts, the Hosanna worship leader guy with Don Moen, having to know his father we had a chance to meet up with him in Cebu during his Christmas tour concert last year. We exchange ministry thoughts and when he knew I was ‘adopting’ several children, one would directly comment, “Are you having an orphanage?” He did ask the same inquiry.

I told him that, “A child in the ‘orphanage’ is an orphan. But an orphan in the ‘family’ is a child. No one would call an orphan in your family ‘an orphan’ but you will call him ‘your child.’ ”

Church is a family. It is having a ‘mom and dad’ in the Lord. Paul would call them the “parents in the Lord” in Ephesians 6:1 in which he admonish the ‘children in the Lord’ to obey them. [Verse 2 clearly speaks to honor your physical parents the ‘father and mother.’] Jesus design for His Church simply having those who will ‘nurture you and nourishes you as his own children’ like Paul. He ‘labors’ the Thessalonian saints ‘until Christ will be formed’ in them. He himself is ‘becoming a father’ to the Corinthian saints though they have ‘thousands of teachers.’ He ‘fathers’ Timothy, calling him ‘my son in the faith.’

“Hit and Run” Ministries

One of my ‘wondering questions’ around ‘specialize ministries’ such as ‘Youth Ministry’ ‘Men’s and Women’s Ministry’ ‘Bible Study Programs’ ‘Prayer Meetings’ ‘Outreaches’ ‘Evangelism’ or ‘Having 12 people around you – [G12], name it. What are these ‘ministries’ all about if it were not for the purpose of ‘extending’ your family? And if were, are you just gonna see them once a week? Like my friend who has a Bible Study in a school once a week? And then what? I might like to call them ‘hit and miss’ ministries.

Church is about relationships. Like a ‘mother to her daughter’ kind of relationship. Yes, it is as close as that! A million dollar question to be considered is: “Am I willing to father/mother those that I am going to reach out?” Or else you will just be bearing more spiritual orphans hopping around churches hoping to find real people who can father and mother them.

Consider this question: Do you have people around you who is fathering and mothering you? If so, are you both are ‘intentional’ about it? I mean, does he/she knows that he/she is your ‘parents in the Lord?’ Jesus says that His Church has ‘hundreds of mothers, brothers and sisters’ means hundreds of relationships, means ‘hundreds of them all.’

This is the cry of the prophet Malachi, that ‘fathers would turn their hearts to their children and the children to their fathers.’ And the prophet John the Baptist echoed the ‘purpose’ of this saying that this is ‘to prepare the way of the Lord.’ Imagine that!

“Orphanages Mentality” might be good and they’re doing it ‘very good’ but it is an old saying that goes, ‘the good is the enemy of the best’ no matter how we spread that kind of ‘good.’ Actually, the Bible speaks of ‘good works that doesn’t bear fruit!”

Here are several reasons why:

1. They may have ‘thousands of pastors,’ because they have been to many churches, but they could hardly pen-point who are the people that ‘parent’ them.

2. They are full of staff, teachers, directors, and even founders yet lack or no ‘father and mother figure’ that they could look up to. “Orphanages Mentality” eliminates ‘fathering and mothering.’

3. They are building their own little kingdoms celebrating their own human founder in which have become competent of the Kingdom of God. They are really encouraging a ‘sectarian’ spirit, a ‘hierarchy’ system form of government in which God hates. [Nicolaitan deeds]

4. They have become ‘babies’ and continue to be that way for the rest of their lives. It’s how religion works, they want you to become babies for you to be controlled. Grown up people doesn’t want to be controlled. Irresponsible Christians does not want to have other people involve in their daily lives, they just like to ‘feed, give and leave’ to a social Christian Club membership once a week and sleep well at night knowing that their ‘guilt’ is being paid in a Sunday offering collection.

5. They are treated more like a ‘project’ to be financed than ‘people’ to be cared and loved for like any healthy family parent would do to their children. A child is loved unconditionally, any parent would know that if their child did something good, mostly it means that they did something wrong!

6. Either we admit it or not, they are still orphans!

I could go on and on but again, Jesus said, “I shall not leave you as orphans.” And how we are trying to fulfill that is build ‘Ministries of Orphanages Mentality.” Whereas Jesus says, “I will build My Church.” His ekklesia, His Body, His extended ‘family’ in which the 6-fold Gifts [Apostles, Prophets, Evangelist, Pastors, and Elders] acts as ‘parents in the Lord’ to the Saints thus ‘fathering the next generation.’

[Paul could have said, “You have thousands of teachers but lack ‘apostles,’ and I have become an apostle unto you.” He clearly states, “I am an apostle of Jesus,” yet “I have become your father!”





Guest Post: Permission Granted

8 01 2012
Permission Newsletter – January 2012
Changing of the Wineskins: 2012 (Part One)

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).

 

What does it really mean to¬†“do”¬†church differently?

 

What does¬†“change”¬†really mean?

 

What does¬†“new”¬†really mean?

 

Four Possibilities From¬†New From Roget’s II: The New Thesaurus The Editors of the American Heritage¬ģ Dictionary.

 

Main Entry: new
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Not the same as what was previously known or done.
Synonyms: different, fresh, innovative, inventive, newfangled, novel, original, unfamiliar

 

Main Entry: additional
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Being an addition.
Synonyms: added, extra, fresh, further, more, other, new

 

Main Entry: fresh
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: Not previously used.
Synonyms: brand-new, new

 

Main Entry: present
Part of Speech: adjective
Definition: In existence now.
Synonyms: contemporary, current, existent, existing, now, present-day, new

 

Change remains vague until it is defined. With “change” being one of the driving themes of an entire shift in world politics, everyone is crying out for more clarity, more specificity, more steps, more exact actions.

 

What do we mean by change?

 

And when it comes to the church what are we actually changing, and how are we seeing wineskins renewed?

 

Unfortunately, “church change” sounds way to similar to the nebulous eco-political jargon of today. So we don’t want to offend anyone in the church so we couch our nomenclature in ambiguous terms, or even religious ones.¬† Like, we just need “renewal,” we just need “revival,” we just need “reformation.”

 

But without specificity most people read that as we just need a new “program,” we just need a new “vision,” we just need a new “pastor,” or at least newer “buildings,” and new, softer “pews.”

 

So, we find ourselves adjusting the lighting, laying down new carpet. Trading in the old pews for theater seats, buying the hottest new flesh tone wireless microphones, firing an old preacher, hiring a new preacher. We work at doing fresh demographic studies and change the order of service, or if all else fails add a new service on a new night.

 

But this time, in 2012, in the time cycle of the church, that will not be enough, it will not work, anymore. This is merely patching the wineskins.

 

Patching the Wineskins!

Patching the Wineskins!

Patching the Wineskins!

 

We paint the old wineskin, we put new carpet in the old wineskin, we rearrange the seating in the old wineskin. Or, we add a second wineskin to the old wineskin, maybe even a Saturday night wineskin for the younger set.

 

Of course none of these changes make a difference over the long haul. Sure, we may get a few kudos about some of these subtle shifts and slight changes we have engineered. But has anything really changed for real and for the long run?

 

We even brag about the little changes we have made at the Annual Wineskin Convention, maybe even write a new book about our new wineskin, and start an association around this new way of wineskinning.

 

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).

 

With all the decorative aesthetic adjustments nothing really changes, all we do is end up diluted the wine, weakening the wine, create more distraction for people’s hunger and thirst for the “true new wine,” forgetting all along that the purpose of the church is to accommodate what God is doing, not asking God to cooperate with what we are doing.

 

Because these church growth adaptations too will fade; this time we need something more. Right now, like no other time in history, we need a completely “new” way of doing church, a “new” way of being the church: a new way, not an additional way, or even just a fresh way, and definitely not the present way.

 

In fact, everything we currently call “church” needs to change, not from the outside in, but the inside out, these issues are so systemic, these issues are so broken they need to be replaced. We must begin by actually accepting a complete ‘funeral’ mentality on how we have done everything, or do church, and need to let it die, and then let God shape in us an entirely new winekskin that will adequately handle His potent “new wine.”

 

A Whole New Paradigm 

 

For us who are used to the old, a new¬†‘paradigm’¬†requires first of all a definitive¬†‘paradigm funeral.’¬† A deep willingness to let things die and start all over.

 

So we start by looking around for a highly missional, highly participatory band of believers to regularly gather with, those who radically care for one another and make themselves readily accessible to the lost.

 

We return to “simple church” with a common meal and a common cup, not another lecture-driven “meeting” with more of the “sit, soak and sour,” as some professional ‘talking head’ does all of the ministry. But start some gatherings that are a highly prophetic with the released Holy Spirit called upon to lead through the people at His bidding, relying on His leadership, not the scripted program that we followed last week.

 

We refuse to sit in silence one more time and leaving the meeting with one one more “we simply don’t understand and definitely can’t apply to our lives.”

 

We begin to think 24/7 missional church rather than another weekend where we drive to a campus, struggle through a twenty minute search for a parking space, an athletic sprint to drop of the children at the Christian babysitters, another mad dash to the coffee kiosk, and then a press to find a decent seat before the performance begins. Only to look around for the first twenty minutes trying to find the family you want to go to lunch and spend the afternoon with after the meeting.

 

And No More Crying Over Spilled Wine

 

“Nor do people put new wine into old wineskins, or else the wineskins will break, the wine is spilled, and the wineskins are ruined. But they put new wine in new wineskins, and both are preserved.” (Matthew 9:17).

 

OK? No more crying over spilled wine. Enough is enough, don’t look back, no more excuses, it is now time for a “new” way of doing and being church, not a “renewed,” or “refreshed,” or “repainted,” or “redecorated,” or a “refurbished,” or “re-patched” one.¬†Remember the greatest enemy of the ‘new’ is the part of the ‘old’ that still works.

 

Too often this is called, “talking new and acting old.” In other words we start by looking forward at everything, and have to fight the temptation to look back for the nostalgic and familiar old way of “doing” church. This is ‘forward’ looking, not ‘backward’ looking.

And no more “patching” of the old wineskins, we have already polluted and diluted way too much of the good wine, we already know that the old wineskin won’t handle the radical lifestyle of the next generation, or the passionate missional movement that is in front of us.

The ‘old’ will not embrace the press for the new level of intimacy with the Father that is coming, and it will literally explode or implode with the new spontaneous worship of the new wine that is coming. It is time for a totally ‘new wineskin.’ 

To start? We must confront the current church system head on.

 

1. The current church system is designed to produce dependency on the system.

 

2. The two major obstacles to removing people from dependency of the current church system are the church building and paid professionals. We need to find a way to create a new organizational system that doesn’t rely on either. Jesus didn’t.

 

3. We need to find a way to redeem people’s generosity by removing the obstacles (such as buildings and paid staff) and thus releasing people’s resources directly into missional opportunities.

 

4. Dependency is ultimately dysfunctional because we’re not designed to be dependent forever. We’re designed for self-government and personal responsibility to become interdependent mature sons and daughters of God who can risk loving and risk living.

 

5. The problem is, that in today’s system we know how to do 500 people really well, just leading them like cattle into another building for another meeting. But we don’t know how to do 12 people really well. Jesus modeled the latter.

 

6. And we face the primary concern and fear by the current church system that if we actually release people to become the priesthood of believers they will sure fall into heresy. Funny, heresy exists regardless, always has, always will. Example: We have 30,000 denominations. Some of them are wrong. But Jesus risked leaving His followers, and released His Holy Spirit to lead ordinary people. Even if they go through a season of heresy, they will eventually be led into truth. Can we do the same?

 

7. Exponential growth happens when people participate in what God was already doing. Not through prayer events that call down God to bless our latest agreed upon program we picked up at the latest conference or ministry fair.

 

Yes, all of these are specific challenges for today’s church to face? You will have to decide if you will face them, or conform and run from them. You also will have to decide what approach to any remedies you are going to risk. If you are really serious about change and not just a “repatch of the wineskin,” you will have to ask God what He wants you to do and then address what is holding you back.

 

It could mean completely rethinking your views on the church as it relates to everything, the land (properties, facilities) learning (training systems, learning dynamics) and leadership (styles: both old and new) and then addressing those models you insist on perpetuating that continue to weaken today’s legacy church. Letting those die and fade and moving toward the “change of the new.”

 

So, the question remaining is this. Are we desperate enough for the new wine?

 

In His Grip,

Gary Goodell 

garytie

Gary Goodell is a former evangelist, pastor, college dean and instructor involved in ministry stuff for almost 50 years. He and his wife Jane live in San Diego, California USA. He is a father of two adult children and the grandfather of seven. As an author and consultant he functions as an itinerant mentor working with the organic church planting movement known asThird Day, that he and some friends founded in 2001. Third Day International now involves leadership and ministries in 20 nations.

 

Two books,¬†“Permission Granted To Do Church Differently in the 21st Century,”¬†and¬†“Where Would Jesus Lead?”¬†are both available online. More articles available on the website at¬†www.thirddaychurches.com

 

 





2011 in review

1 01 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 3,000 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 50 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.